An investigation forces the postponement of a change of command ceremony in Bagotville


Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force has postponed the change of command ceremony at 3 Wing Base Bagotville, Saguenay, due to a military police investigation.

The ceremony scheduled for Tuesday was to mark the arrival of a new commander, Colonel Colin Marks, at the head of the 3rd Wing. However, Royal Canadian Air Force Commander Eric Kenny announced in a press release that it was postponed due to an incident at another military base in Alberta.

According to Lt. Gen. Kenny’s statement, an investigation is underway into remarks allegedly made during a restricted meeting of 4 Wing CFB Cold Lake in June.

The purpose of this meeting was to find call signs — or nicknames — for fighter pilots.

“On June 22, 2022, at 4 Wing Cold Lake, a call sign allocation committee, during which call signs for members associated with the fighter community are chosen, was held in a social setting in small group.

“An investigation has been launched into the statements made during this activity, and it is still ongoing. The investigation will examine the actions of those involved during this call sign assignment committee,” Lt. Gen. Kenny said in his statement.

In an email response to questions from The Canadian Press, the Department of Defense said several people were present at the meeting.

Lt. Gen. Kenny and the department declined to comment further in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation.

Colonel Marks did not immediately respond to interview requests.

According to the Department of Defense, fighter pilots and combat systems officers receive their codenames at social functions where service members share personal anecdotes with fellow attendees.

“Potential nicknames are proposed by colleagues and then put to a vote. The attribution of call signs, especially in the air force, is a tradition which serves in particular to forge the spirit of the group”, underlined the ministry.

Bagotville and Cold Lake are the two main bases in the country that house CF-18 fighters.

The Canadian Armed Forces continue to deal with a series of inappropriate — and in some cases criminal — behaviors by senior officers.

The commanders of two naval frigates were relieved of their duties in June, but the Forces said that none of these measures were linked to allegations of sexual misconduct.


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